Justice Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, on Friday, pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge the Federal Government leveled against him.
Walter Onnoghen, who mounted the dock at exactly 10:15 am, equally persuaded the Mr. Danladi Umar led tribunal, to dismiss the arrest warrant that was leveled against him on Wednesday. The federal government had in the charge marked CCT/01/2019, that Onnoghen who was suspended from office on January 25 by President Buhari, failed to declare his assets as prescribed by the law.
Justice Walter Onnoghen was accused of operating foreign bank accounts since 2011, contrary to section 15(2) of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. Onnoghen had on four previous dates, declined to appear before the tribunal which he contended lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the charge against him. Consequently, the tribunal, ordered key security agencies in the country to arrest Onnoghen and produce him for trial.
The tribunal specifically directed the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Service, DSS, to execute the arrest warrant. However, the order was not carried out as the suspended CJN, voluntarily appeared before the tribunal to enter his plea to the charge. Shortly after his arraignment, Onnoghen’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, applied for his client to be granted bail on self-recognizance. The application was accordingly granted by the CCT Chairman.